Community Corrections

1082 Words Jul 19th, 2011 5 Pages
Community corrections is a range of alternative punishments for nonviolent offenders. There are two basic community corrections models in the United States. In the first model, integrated community corrections programs combine sentencing guidelines and judicial discretion ("front-end") with a variety of alternative sanctions and parole and probation options. In the second model, some states have instituted programs in which correctional officials may direct already sentenced offenders into alternative sanction programs and parole and probation options ("back-end"). Both models are designed to help reduce prison overcrowding and are less expensive alternatives to prison.
Widespread development of community correction programs in the
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Parole: A form of conditional release available to offenders who are incarcerated. It is similar to probation but the offender is in the community while still serving some of the prison sentence.
When people come into contact with the criminal justice system, they pass through several stages of processing. At each stage, an individual 's risk of re-offending is assessed by criminal justice workers. Risk assessments are performed by justice professionals on a daily basis: pre-trial, before sentencing, when determining security level in custody, prior to release, and after breaches or critical incidents occur (Hart, 1995). These assessments can be either formal or informal in nature (Milner & Campbell, 1995). Risk assessment is fundamental to the criminal justice process because it is a means for distinguishing between offenders who are likely to re-offend and those who are at a lower risk for recidivism (Solicitor General Canada, 1998a).
There has been a lot of controversy about the accuracy of risk assessments. Risk assessments are essentially predictions of future behaviour and are subject to error. The result of a risk assessment has serious implications for both the assessed individual and society: for the individual offender, the assessment will decide his or her freedom; for society, it may determine whether a potentially dangerous person will be released into the community. The community requires protection, but
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